Madonna reportedly barred entry to Eurovision venue over unsigned show contract

The Eurovision 1957 presenter and her assistant during the voting

After the 41-country competition kicked off in the coastal city on Tuesday with a first semi-final, national broadcaster Kan's webcast cut to animated satellite footage showing explosions in Tel Aviv set to a menacing soundtrack.

Madonna is expected to rehearse her performance in front of live audience at Tel Aviv Expo - where the contest is taking place - before performing at the Grand Finale on Saturday.

Contestants from Australia, Iceland, Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, San Marino and Slovenia moved ahead after all participating nations announced their selections, which are divided between a professional jury and phone-in viewers.

"We know that at a certain stage there was an attempt, apparently by Hamas, to commandeer our digital broadcast", chief executive, Eldad Koblenz, told Israel's Army Radio.

Madonna is not bowing to boycotts.

Earlier this month, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip with air raids, artillery and gunboat shooting as armed factions in Gaza fired hundreds of rockets at towns and settlements in southern Israel.

"But I am happy to say that within a few minutes we managed to assume control over this phenomenon".

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Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in the exchanges.

Those who win through to Saturday's final will join host Israel and the so-called "big five" of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - all of whom are entitled to skip the elimination rounds.

Palestinian activists have responded, calling Eurovision an "artwashing [of] Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians".

The Jewish state won the job of hosting this year's 64th Eurovision contest after Israeli singer Netta Barzilai's victory in Portugal last year. The second semi-final is on Thursday.

'We are negotiating now, in the final stage of that - but if there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage'. The news comes despite the music legend's scheduled arrival in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning aboard the private jet of Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams.

"I'll never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be", the singer said in the statement carried by U.S. media.

The Palestinian-led BDS movement described it as it "crude propaganda straight out of apartheid South Africa's playbook".

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